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energy efficiency of vintage stove?

Posted by lynne3450 (My Page) on
Thu, Nov 18, 10 at 19:49

Hi,
Is the title of my post a paradox? :)

We bought a little 1940 tract home here in LA 5 months ago, and adore its war era charm.

The vintage GE stove/oven that came with the house needs repairs, and I don't much like cooking with electric anyway, so we're thinking of trading in or selling the stove we have now for a different vintage (gas) stove.

Question is, we are sensitive to environmental issues and energy efficiency (2 Prius household, enough said? ;) so, can you tell me, are vintage stoves/ovens terribly energy inefficient?

I would guess that new models of ovens are much more efficient, in terms of insulation and such. Can you help inform our decision?

Thank you!


Follow-Up Postings:

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RE: energy efficiency of vintage stove?

I don't think they're terrible---we have a 1954 O'Keefe and Merritt, and our gas bills are ridiculously low during the summer despite having the pilot light on. Not as efficient as a new one, I'm sure, but also lower BTUs. (Ours is mid-range---9K and 12K BTU burners with simmer caps---which I find completely workable as an active cook; I'm not sure I'd want much less than that, though.) Oven insulation is quite good on the O&M and can also be replaced easily (standard fiberglass insulation) if you want even more. Not sure about other models, but I doubt they're too different there.

Generally, I'd say any negative environmental impact in efficiency is canceled out by positive environmental impact in saving something from the landfill and not buying a stove that was shipped across the ocean (as the vast majority of new ones are). So I wouldn't use that as a deciding factor, if that helps. If you do decide to get a vintage range, you should have lots of options nearby, as the O'Keefe & Merritts were made down there and the Wedgewoods up here in the SF East Bay, so there are lots of both floating around California in general. HTH!


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RE: energy efficiency of vintage stove?

Thank you! Yes, it does help!

Any other opinions or suggestions out there?


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RE: energy efficiency of vintage stove?

You might find the attached a good read, both on and slightly off topic, about vintage vs new stoves. One poster on pg 3 commented that when their gas was turned off, there wasn't much difference in their gas bill. Hope this helps.

Here is a link that might be useful: vintage vs new


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RE: energy efficiency of vintage stove?

With the limited time of use in a typical house a stove is not a large energy user, gas or electric.

Unless you do a lot of baking, even the insulation improvements of a newer stove are not significant.


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RE: energy efficiency of vintage stove?

If it is an electric appliance in good condition the burners should be 100% efficient but the amount and condition of oven insulation might be poor.

The more important issue would be the relative cost of gas vs electricity which is a information you must get from the local suppliers.


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RE: energy efficiency of vintage stove?

A old appliances may not save you anything on what they use energy wise BUT as far as quality of workmanship and materials they far surpass what is being made and sold in this country today.


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RE: energy efficiency of vintage stove?

It's really a shame that "vintage" appliances have gotten so trendy in the last few years. The prices mentioned in the link above just about took my breath away. Twenty years ago or so, stoves from the 1930s and 1940s could be had for $25 - or even for free.


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RE: energy efficiency of vintage stove?

Oh, you can still get them for free for sure. Our local Craigslist and Freecycle have free working vintage ranges all the time. They're just not the fancy refurbished ones---but that costs a lot to do, in fairness! We're in the middle of a mini-refurb of ours just to get some little things like lighting working again, and that's $500 in labor and parts right there (most of it parts, too). If we were re-chroming or re-enameling anything, it would be up past $1K easily.


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RE: energy efficiency of vintage stove?

A friend's Mom used a wood stove, side by side with a '50s electric, till nearly the day she passed on. Now, that's vintage!


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RE: energy efficiency of vintage stove?

I would suggest that vintage stoves might be more efficient than new ones. I notice, for example, that my 1960's 40 inch stove, with double ovens, heats it's ovens up much faster than my fathers 2006 30 inch stove. Smaller ovens are probably more efficient. Open burners seem to put more of the heat right under the pan, as opposed to sealed burners which spread the flames out wide. etc.

Pilot lights use gas 24/7. You can shut off the surface burner pilots and light with a grill lighter or match. Oven pilots, if present, use gas, but it is not much gas. I had a pilot ignition stove in my old apartment, with just the oven pilot on, and the stove was the only item on the meter, and my bill every month was for one or two ccf (about the same as a therm). This is really tiny gas use.

I did tons of research over the past couple of years on stoves, and finally decided that a restored vintage stove fit my needs most precisely. I wanted two ovens, six burners, pilot ignition (maintains perfect conditions in the oven for bread proofing and almost never breaks down) and not bigger than 40 inches. I got exactly what I wanted. It was not cheap, costing about what a Wolf or Viking with similar features would cost, but I feel more confident that it will serve my needs well for the long haul.


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RE: energy efficiency of vintage stove?

Not to muddy the waters here.....but here are some ideas to consider.

Generally I agree with Artemis about the carbon footprint of a vintage stove vs new....electric or gas.

But note that the gas stove does run by combustion...it is burning the gas.

There would be some case to make for electric being more "green" , but only under certain narrow situations-- if you would be generating or using electricity that was created with 0 emissions. Like if you had enough rooftop solar or wind power on site to meet your usage needs.

If your available electric supply is produced at a power plant, then the decision probably comes down to personal preference.

Anyone else?


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RE: energy efficiency of vintage stove?

I agree wholeheartedly, especially if the electric is being produced by a fossil fuel power plant. I sort of took the similar tack when I decided to purchase a new washing machine after old-faithful top loader broke down. I hung out at the laundry forum and googled all brands and looked at their energy efficiency and reviews.

I ended up buying a brand new wringer washer like my Mama used when I was a kid. For one thing, the mechanism is so simple, I can fix it myself with the proper parts and for the second thing, I can actually do five loads of wash with one load of water, far outpacing the front loaders who play on their small carbon footprint. I have all five loads done in one hour and fifteen minutes and they're so clean, they squeak.

I got scared off the modern computer front loaders when I found out all the didos the folks had to do to circumvent the systems to get their clothes clean. Extra rinses, running the loads through twice, reprogramming the machine to do all the loads on extra heat and water. It's not energy efficient if you essentially do your laundry twice just to get it clean or get the soap out. Go over to the laundry forum and read about new washing machines. I'm not opposed to front loaders, I used them in Europe, but I'm not seeing the same results in American made.

I also moved heaven and earth to get pilot lights on my gas cook top when we renovated our kitchen. I used to work in quality control engineering at a stove manufacturer. Simple is good. Trust me on that one. LOL.


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RE: energy efficiency of vintage stove?

I can't imagine they're the only ones, but I do know that Brown (that's the brand) gas ranges are available with either electric ignition or a standing pilot. And they're made in Cleveland, Tennessee, USA.

The link is for reference, not an endoresement. I have no personal experience with these products.

Here is a link that might be useful: Brown gas ranges


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RE: energy efficiency of vintage stove?

Thanks all!


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RE: energy efficiency of vintage stove?

I am needing help figuring out the kWh/ yearly for a GE electric stove (pictured). Model # 1J406-2L1. Anyone have a wild guess as to the energy use? Or where I could find out? Thanks, Vic


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RE: energy efficiency of vintage stove?

victoria007

Your local utility may have information of standard usage of an electric range, but not by your specific model or in accordance with your life style, you would have to do that.


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